Buying, selling and caring for birds

Buy from legitimate dealers, keep good records, and follow guidelines for the care of your birds.

Buying and selling birds

A licence is required to obtain or dispose of non-exempt native birds. You may only obtain or dispose of protected birds from either a licensed bird keeper or fauna dealer (this includes gifts as well as buying or selling birds).

Licensed bird dealers must display a copy of their NPWS licence in their premise. If they sell or dispose of a protected bird, they must give an official OEH Notice of Sale Receipt to the person who receives the bird.

When obtaining a bird from any source, you should ask for a receipt. If you get it from a pet shop or licensed dealer you should make sure that you get an official OEH Notice of Sale receipt. You should keep receipts as proof that you obtained each bird legally. If the person does not want to give you a receipt, don't buy the bird. You should contact the NPWS at once, as the birds may have been obtained illegally from the wild or stolen.

You must get an import or export licence from the NPWS before trading birds with any keeper or dealer interstate.

Proving legal possession

When you obtain a class 1 or 2 bird keeper licence, OEH will issue you with a fauna record book which you must keep up-to-date and accurate. You must exchange the book for a new one in July each year. Details of the birds you have bred, bought or disposed of will be entered from your record book onto a computer database so that the information can be cross-checked against the records of other licence and certificate holders. It is your responsibility to ensure that your fauna record book is up to date at all times.

When you apply for a companion bird keeper's licence, you need to identify the source of the bird, for our records. The NPWS needs to be notified in writing before any bird held under a companion bird licence can be bought or sold.

Caring for birds

We recommend that all bird keepers are familiar with the Code of Practice for the Keeping and Trading of Birds, published by the Department of Primary Industries. This code sets out standards for the housing, feeding, handling and transport of birds held in either pet shops or private collections. Aviaries must also comply with the health and building regulations of your local Council.

For advice on keeping birds, you can contact any of the avicultural societies. Most are a great source of informed advice and hold regular meetings. You can get in touch with them through larger pet shops.

Avicultural societies

Sick or injured birds

In many areas, sick or injured native birds are cared for by volunteer wildlife rehabilitation groups. If you find an injured or sick bird you should contact the local group through your local OEH office. The NPWS will generally not allow untrained people to care for these birds, which must be returned to the wild when they can again fend for themselves.

More information


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Page last updated: 29 April 2016